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Animal Clinic Northview - Renowned for Care

27 November 2007
by Michael Sangiacomo
The Cleveland Plain Dealer

North Ridgeville -- His patients come from down the street and thousands of miles away -- some by private jet -- for treatment at what must surely be the Cleveland Clinic for pets.

Veterinarian Robert Hutchison and a partner recently opened Animal Clinic Northview, a multimillion-dollar animal care facility on Center Ridge Road.

The 24,000-square-foot center boasts 16 full-time veterinarians and 88 employees and is open all day, every day. The clinic has state-of-the-art surgery tools and techniques, an on-site laboratory, an intensive care unit with round-the-clock staff and Hutchison's world-class dog reproductive center.

The parking lot is large enough to accommodate recreational vehicles because some of Hutchison's patients come from as far away as California and Florida. Their owners often prefer to stay in their RVs in the parking lot to be near their pets.

"Bob is a very talented, skilled person, a leader in the field of canine reproduction," said Dr. Rustin Moore, chairman of the veterinary clinical science department at Ohio State University. "That's why people from everywhere use his services."

Cathy Gauche, of Houston, has 16 poodles and would not dream of letting any other veterinarian touch them.

"He's the world's best vet," said Gauches, who met Hutchison when she lived in North Ridgeville years ago. "I just trust him."

About eight times a year, Gauches drives her dogs from her home to Hutchison for either illnesses or check-ups.

Once she had a dog that was near death. Hutchison met her at the airport and successfully treated the dog, saving its life.

"He crawled in the cage with her at 2 in the morning and sat with her all night," Gauche said. "Who else would do that?"

Hutchison started his veterinary practice out of his car in 1977. Today, he has a client list of more than 45,000 dogs, cats and birds, some that come from more than 1,000 miles away.

When he and his recently retired partner, veterinarian Gary Krone, started out, they made only house calls because they had no office. The practice grew, along with Hutchison's reputation as an animal reproduction expert.

"One day someone came in and pointed out that there were cars from eight different states in our parking lot," Hutchison said. "And that is not unusual."

A significant part of the business is Hutchison's expertise in animal reproduction.

He works with many champion dogs, using artificial insemination to make sure there's no blurring of the bloodlines and no complications.

A large section of the building is a climate-controlled warehouse built to withstand a hurricane. The section contains the semen of 3,000 dogs, all kept frozen by liquid nitrogen.

Among the celebrity dogs he has helped sire puppies is Air Bud, the dog from the movie series.

Hutchison gives lectures on reproduction around the world, and will give one soon in Australia.

His interest in the animal reproductive field was a fluke. He and his wife were at a veterinary conference and on the last day, his wife went shopping. He decided to attend one of the last lectures, which was on reproduction.

"I had no clue that a one-hour lecture would change the course of my life," he said.

At age 60, he said he's as happy as he has ever been with the new building and his large practice.

"I knew this was what I have wanted since the second grade, and I get to do what I love," he said. "I'm just a lucky guy."

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